This is for my flawless fiancé Middy (keep my issues drawn), and I'm sorry it's a bit naff, but I hope you like it anyway :D

{written + published on my ipod so I apologise for any mistakes I've not seen}

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'Whirler dog,' the squirrel thinks at you (but you don't know if it's a different squirrel as yesterday, because they all look the same). You don't like the squirrels because they think like they're cleverer than you and you can never reach them when they're up in those trees. They think they're better than Todd, too, which you don't like because Todd's a boy and he's your boy and even though he can't read he's cleverer than them for sure. When he becomes a man he'll definitely be cleverer, but then he'll have to do man jobs and he won't be able to take you to the swamp and pick apples any more so you won't be able to tell the squirrels (that's okay though, because you don't like seeing them). But you don't want Todd to become a man, because you've heard the men's noise and you don't like it and you don't want his noise to change like the other boys' did. (although Ben is a man and his noise is kind) Some men's noise though, you find scary. Like that Mayor Prentiss'. Full of 'I AM THE CIRCLE AND THE CIRCLE IS ME' and 'If one of us falls, we all fall'. Sometimes, you think you might hear a tiny little bit of quiet in it. You hope Todd's noise never ever gets like that, even when he is a man.

The eyes of the men are like their noise, you notice. In all of them there's a haunted look that most people don't see (but you think differently because you're not human), like they're scared of something that happened or something they did. You never want Todd's eyes to look like that, either.

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Todd's noise smiles when he's with the girl. Viola, her name is. You don't like her much because she's so quiet, and the only noise she makes comes from her mouth, not her head and it's so different that you had to run away because of it, and now Todd is terrified of the men who he used to know but are now chasing us to a place that you don't remember the name of and you don't want to go because you liked Prentisstown even though it was noisy.

It doesn't change anything though, because you're still running and she's still there.

They didn't really talk much, at first. There was just the silence of him looking at her and her looking at him and Todd's constant stream of noise trying to work out what the words are and your barks of asking 'Todd?'. And then there was the loudness of her quietquiet thoughts. But now they're friends and you're not sure if you like it because Todd didn't have any friends except for you (and you're not quite sure he even likes you that much) before you stumbled across her silence in that swamp and everything changed.

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She's gone now, and you're not sure why but you miss her quiet. You've seen in Todd's noise that he misses her, too.

You see her a lot in Todd's noise. He thinks about her silence and it sounds calm amongst the chaos of his thoughts (because you got used to it, you did). 'Viola?' you often ask. But you never get answered and Todd just hurts you and you think 'Ow?' but he doesn't seem to care because he misses his Viola Eade and his noise is screaming with 'VIOLA'. He likes her more than he likes you, you sometimes think. And you don't want to but you realise it might be true because you could see the look in his eyes when he talked to her and he never smiles like that when he is with you, even though he's your boy and you ain't ever gonna leave or hurt him.

He's going to be a man soon. You can't number the days yourself but you hear him counting in his noise and it isn't long until he won't be able to take you down to that swamp (but you haven't been there since you first saw her, so does it matter any more?). The army of the Mayor chased you away from it, you remember, and they're still chasing you now and even if Todd does become a man will it change him from being your boy like he is now? You don't think so, but you're still scared his noise will be different like the rest of the men in Prentisstown.

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You don't understand what's wrong because you took the fire stick to Viola like he asked but then Aaron was there and you're not quite sure what happened because it was all so confusing. And now Viola and him have gone away somewhere and you can't see them and you're so confused because you don't know what's happening and you're scared and have they gone forever? But you know he wouldn't leave you, he wouldn't, because he's your Todd and you're his friend and you did exactly what he told you.

Then you hear Viola's loudloud silence but it's getting quieter and quieter, like it's drifting away. So you look up the river and there they are but they're not coming closer, not at all, and you don't understand-

And you see his noise that's whirling with sadness and "I'm sorry" and you can feel Aaron's hand on your neck and you think 'Todd?'

But you don't get an answer before everything stops.